The URBAN-WASTE Charter of Commitments, launched in January this year and recently adopted by the BLUEISLANDS, a European Interreg-Med project on effects of the seasonal variation of waste generation on Mediterranean islands, received special attention at BLUEISLANDS’ conference titled “Towards a circular economy and sustainable tourism on islands” with several Members of the European parliament and representatives of the representatives of BLUEISLANDS’ pilot islands adding their signature to the Charter
Not even two months after being launched, the URBAN-WASTE’s Charter of Commitments for Sustainable Material Resources Managament was adopted by the BLUEISLANDS Interreg-Med project as a significant way to put BLUEISLANDS’ project partners’ efforts to decrease tourism’s negative impact on environment and waste management forward. Becoming a common Charter for the two projects, it received special attention and had it’s “second launch” in Brussels on 11 April during the BLUEISLANDS’ conference which brought together not only the project consortium but a large number of other NGOs, local and regional authorities, members of the European Commission, European Parliament, representatives of the academia and more. Nearly 120 people showed up for this conference, held in the European Parliament.
Sessions moderated by Members of the European Parliament gathered around SEARICA, a European Parliament intergroup on seas, rivers, islands and coastal areas, including Tonino Picula, Michela Giuffrida, Claudia Monteiro de Aguilar and Davor Škrlec, provided not only an overview of the project and its objectives but also highlighted the critical moment we are in as marine litter and tourism activities have never endangered the well-being of local residents, as well as marine flora and fauna. A number of scientific researches as well as policy recommendations were taken as a proof that action is utterly needed.
The conference was opened by Gesine Meissner, SEARICA’s chair who welcomed Josep Maria Tost i Borras, ACR+’s president and the president of the Catalan Waste Agency, Michel Sponar, Deputy Head of Unit at the Directorate General for the Environment in the European Commission, Athena Papanastasiou, on behalf of the Cypriot Department of Environment, as well as Waldemar Kütt, Head of Unit at DG RTD for Bioeconomy Strategy at the European Commission. The following three sessions, after the one with some remarkable keynote speeches, provided alarming proofs, ongoing efforts, good practices but also provided tools for monitoring and evaluating these efforts and preventing new marine litter.
The conference ended with Members of the European parliament adding their signatures to the Charter, followed by the BLUEISLANDS consortium. The Charter now contains the original signatures from Ponta Delgada, Lisbon, Nicosia, Puerto de la Cruz, Nice and the newly added signatures of the SEARICA intergroup including Gesine Meissner, Michela Giuffrida, Davor Škrlec, Claudia Monteiro de Aguilar, as well as Josep Maria Tost i Borras’ signature on behalf of the Catalan Waste Agency. The BLUEISLANDS project contributed to the charter with their project partners – Crete, Cypriot Ministry of Environment, Mallorca, Malta, Mykonos and Rhodes.
You can read more about the Charter itself here.